C-47 "Ride-Along"

WWIIADT

"Airborne Experience"

We are now able to offer a new "ride-along" Airborne experience. Individuals will be allowed to go "Airborne" along with jump team members on a C47 flight.  Hear and feel what it's like to ride in a WWII vintage aircraft and watch the troops dressed in WWII uniforms and equipment "Stand Up & hook Up".

To learn more about this opportunity contact us at: operations_@_wwiiadt.org


                                                  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Frank A. Bilich

 Born:                             19 Feb 1925

Enlistment date:            18 Feb 1943    Scott Field, Belleville, IL

Deployments:                Europe

Units:                             D Co. 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment 82nd Airborne Division.

Rank:                            Staff Sergeant

Specialisations:             Sharpshooter M1 and Carbine, Demolitions Specialist                                              SCR 300 Operator.    

Qualifications:              Combat Infantryman Badge, P.T Instructor, Jump Master, Air Transportability Instructor, Drill Instructor.

Decorations:                  Presidential Unit Citation with Oak Leaf Cluster, Bronze Star, EAME Campaign Medal with 4 Bronze Stars and 1 Arrowhead, Good Conduct Medal, American Theater Medal, Army of Occupation Medal, Victory Medal, Dutch Military Order of Wilhelms, Belgian Fouragere, French Fouragere.

 Discharge Date:            15 Dec 1948

 Other Information:      Having graduated from Englewood High School, Chicago, Illinois in January 1943 aged 17, Frank enlisted the day before his 18th birthday. Originally sent to Scott Field, Belleville, Illinois with the Army Air Force, in March 1943, Frank transferred to the Infantry. Here followed 13 weeks of Basic Training at Camp Roberts, California and following its completion on 29th June 1943, Frank volunteered for airborne duties.

 He was placed in a Casual Company with other airborne volunteers until he was transferred to Fort Benning, Georgia on 15th August 1943. As Jump School was full, Frank was sent to Alabama, where he remained until the 1st week of September when he began his jump training.  After graduating on 07 October 1943, Frank was moved to camp McCall, NC where he remained readying for deployment. On 10th November 1943 he relocated to Fort Meade, MD and after a brief two week layover, moved onto Camp Shanks, NY to await transportation to Europe. This transportation arrived in the shape of the famous Queen Elizabeth and on 5th December 1943 they began their epic sea journey to Britain.  Some 5 days later, the Queen Elizabeth docked in Scotland, but the journey was not over, as Frank moved to Cookstown, Northern Ireland to join the rest of the 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment. Here Frank was assigned to D Company, 2nd Battalion 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division. Frank served with the 505th throughout their European Theater of Operations campaigns until he finally arrived in Berlin in the Army of Occupation. Having re-enlisted, Frank finally returned to the USA with 505th PIR where he remained until his final discharge on 15th December 1948.

 After completing his military service, Frank entered the construction industry where he successfully worked for some 25 year and where, together with his wife Jean raised three children and help raise 6 wonderful grandchildren. Even so, Frank still had jumping in his veins as in 1970 he took to jumping again with the “505th Old Tymers Club” and he made his last jump shortly before his 65th birthday.  Typical of the men we honor, Frank’s view of his experiences is summed up in the briefest, unassuming of statements, “Life has been really exciting and I have no complaints”.